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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion
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Refining the lighting and exposure


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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion

with David Hobby

Video: Refining the lighting and exposure

So I'm going to take a moment and set up my two accent lights. As it is right now, the background is white. We've got a nice soft key on where a Stephanie is going to be. I'm probably going to be filling with an Orbis. Big surprise, right? So I want just a little bit of texture wrapping around her from the back, and I'm going to do that with the couple of lights from the back pointing in towards her. So I'm going to point the slaves forward. I'm going to just do these optically. They can't mess with this many flashes going off in a room. And I'm going to put a snoot on them, and these are little custom snoots I've made for my SP800, and they're just sections of a spaghetti box.

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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion
1h 38m Appropriate for all May 17, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist.com publisher David Hobby demonstrates using strobes to freeze action while capturing the strength and grace of a dancer in motion. After working through the lighting challenges of a dance studio, David sets up a white, seamless background and shoots some test shots, adjusting the flash units to create a white "blow-away" background that will enable the photo to be easily composited. Next, he photographs the dancer, working with her to capture a relaxed expression as she leaps and strikes various poses. After the action shots, David lights and shoots a portrait.

Topics include:
  • Assessing a space and setting up a background
  • Lighting a background to create a "blow-away white"
  • Working with umbrellas and ring light adaptors
  • Lighting to show musculature and form
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Flash Photography Lighting
Author:
David Hobby

Refining the lighting and exposure

So I'm going to take a moment and set up my two accent lights. As it is right now, the background is white. We've got a nice soft key on where a Stephanie is going to be. I'm probably going to be filling with an Orbis. Big surprise, right? So I want just a little bit of texture wrapping around her from the back, and I'm going to do that with the couple of lights from the back pointing in towards her. So I'm going to point the slaves forward. I'm going to just do these optically. They can't mess with this many flashes going off in a room. And I'm going to put a snoot on them, and these are little custom snoots I've made for my SP800, and they're just sections of a spaghetti box.

A one-pound box of spaghetti fits in SP800 perfectly, and the tape is there because I'm a professional. So it takes if form being cardboardy to black Gaf. It's just the simplest thing, and I use them all of the time, and you can sit down and make ten of these things while you're watching a movie. I sometime prefer these to the professional models, although I do use both, because I can take them and alter them. If want them to be a snoot on four sides, I can use them as is. But if I want to allow that light to spill on the back, I'll just tear it and tear this back section out, leave a little stripe going around there, and you've got three-sided snoot that's going to allow light to escape from the flip side.

So it's crazy not have a few of these in your bag. All right, so these are ready. Now you bring them out. Oh! Yeah, yeah jeez. Who is this guy? We are going to do the same trick with these that we do anytime we are slaving--like this is actually going to kind of hard because these are stiff. Like this and like that. That allows me to have to the slave pointing forward and to be able to tilt this.

So I'm just rotating the flash 90 degrees in the mount. Same deal here. This is one reason I like the Frio better than my long-time Nikon AS19s, because they don't get in the way of the little knobs when I'm doing these kinds of things. So I want these up to be pretty high, and I want them to be pointing probably above where the mark is that she's going to be hitting. The snoots will keep them from hitting me, hopefully.

So John, for continuity, have it even with poles. We don't have 3 or 4 feet over there, so I am going to need to come in little closer on the other side and just kind of point it back right at the mark. Dave, for continuity, can I have you give the camera to Mark? And I'll get you back on the spot. John, sorry. I was thinking Mark, because I was looking at the-- Okay, let's see how you're starting to look now.

Did this fire? Yes. So let's go to one quarter on this. I might need to have something other then this as a fill. Let's take a look. So that's a little hot. I hear Stephanie I think. We are getting the tinniest bit of light.

So I'm going to back to this and see how dark that is. Yeah, I'm definitely catching it. So just leap away high into the air, Dave, if you could. I need to see more from those backlights, and I'm going to need to be back here with a longer lens.

No, they're there. Yup, I do. So let me go to 7, 1 and see what that does on your hair. It's funny. The hair comes down like a third of a stop. It really does. And 8. Okay, I can live with 5, 6. I prefer 8.

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